Danielle Drees

Danielle Drees


Staging Sleep: Sleep and Social Reproduction in Contemporary Performance


Danielle is a doctoral candidate in Theatre with a certificate in Feminist Scholarship. Her research focuses on gender and labor in dramatic literature from the early modern period to the 21st century, with particular interests in global theatre and performance post-1945 and in the forms of backstage care labor underpinning theatrical production. Danielle's writing has been published in Performance Research and is forthcoming in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies and Theatre Journal.

Danielle’s dissertation Staging Sleep: Sleep and Social Reproduction in Contemporary Performance examines sleep in theatre and performance art after 1980, arguing that sleep onstage works through urgent concerns of social reproduction, from staging a feminist critique of the family through to imagining new possibilities for our arrangements of care, shelter, work, and leisure. Staging Sleep examines sleep in a wide range of performance forms, including experimental plays and opera, collaborative performance art, and global Shakespeare production, drawing on live performances and archival material from Europe, North America, Central Africa, and East Asia.   

Danielle's work as a teacher is informed by her training in feminist and writing pedagogy and her commitment to embodied knowledge and deep attention as a theatre scholar. At Columbia, Danielle has taught her own seminar on US Theatre in the 21st Century and themed writing classes on gender and sexuality studies; she was also selected as the fall 2017 teaching assistant for the Columbia in London program, in partnership with Queen Mary University. Danielle is committed to connecting her academic work to art and activism in New York, having volunteered as a coordinator for Columbia’s Theatre Colloquium, a play reader for non-profit theatre company New Georges, and a labor organizer with Graduate Workers of Columbia.

Danielle graduated summa cum laude with an AB in English and a citation in Spanish from Harvard College in 2012. She completed her MPhil in Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge in 2013 before holding a year-long Writing Fellowship at New York University Abu Dhabi. She is pursuing certification in Comparative Literature and Society and in Advanced Teaching Development at Columbia.